Getting children dressed is something a lot of parents associate with stress, frustration and even tears. Something as simple as picking out girls cardigans and getting your child to wear them can be difficult, and it is even harder when you are in a rush. Taking your time to dress your child and building a routine will make this part of the day much easier, and over time it can even be a rewarding learning opportunity.
Even the most well-behaved child can turn getting dressed into a nightmare. Like the dreaded bath time, sometimes when children know something is coming they push back against it. This is made even worse if they associate getting dressed with a mad rush to get out of the house in time to get to school or to an event. They may plead, throw a tantrum or deploy lots of wriggling just to get out of getting dressed. It’s difficult not to turn this into a temperamental back-and-forth if they want to turn the opportunity into an argument, but try not to make it too much of an ordeal. Take the time to keep it light and playful so getting dressed is not seen as a daily struggle.
Of course, there’s always going to be days when you simply don’t have the time to reach a place of zen-like calm when dressing your child. Planning ahead and having outfits ready will ensure that you’re not searching the house for a matching sock. Have full outfits ready either folded in a drawer or hanging in the wardrobe so you can quickly grab something stylish. Planning ahead can be a great rainy-day activity with your children. Ask them to pick out their favourite clothing for special days, like what they would wear if they were going to the beach, the park or to Nanny’s house. When you are going to any of these places in the future, you can say “Remember when we picked this out together?”
Let them have a Choice
Involving your child in the choice of what they are going to wear builds their independence and confidence. Even better, you can teach them tips on how to be stylish from an early age. Start small and don’t give them too many options, but make sure that the selection of tops and bottoms all go well together. At this stage it’s a good idea to pick out clothes which are versatile, like girls cardigans, dungarees or plain jeans. Over time as your child becomes familiar with outfits they wear you can introduce more items of clothing.
Fun with Accessories
Choosing what accessories they are going to wear can make getting dressed much more fun. Buy a cheap range of watches and caps for boys so they can add their own flair. For girls, have a box full of costume jewellery and let them pick out one or two things they want to show off with their outfit.
Turn Getting Dressed into a Learning Opportunity
Teaching your child what items of clothing match and what colours clash may seem optimistic, but some children really take to fashion from an early age. Turn getting dressed into a fun learning game by picking out an item of clothing which is one colour and asking them to find something which matches. If this is something they enjoy doing, you’ll be setting them up with important life skills which many adults don’t even have!